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The laika

The laika was a title employed prior to the Spanish Conquest to denote a ceremonial healer from the central Peruvian highlands. After the arrival of the European Inquisitors, Catholic priests began referring to all Quechua magico-religious practitioners by this title, equating the laika with sorcerer or witch. Early written references to the laika appear in the Spanish Chronicles, particularly the Huarochiri Manuscript, commissioned in 1608 by a clerical persecutor, Father Francisco de Avila, who used it for his persecution of American deities and their practitioners. Several contemporary investigators, including psychiatrist and anthropologist Ina Rosing, and medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo have attempted to clarify that the Laika in the prehispanic world were not witches, but traditional healers and wisdom keepers.

The term laika has been replaced by the more familiar name of paco or altomesayoq to refer to contemporary magico-religious practitioners, yet a few of the Quechua pacos have started using the old title once again, perhaps in defiance of the oppressive remnants of the Spanish Conquistadors.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article The laika

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